Binge Guide

Weekly Binge: Bates Motel

by | March 3, 2015 | Comments

A&E’s Bates Motel returns for round three on March 9, and if its chilling preview teasers are any indication, we’re in for one helluva ride. The time draws near for this Psycho-inspired prequel to set the record straight on Mr. Norman Bates and his notorious proclivities– and we’re not just talking murder. Here’s why you should catch up with this excellent, spine-tingling thriller.


Bates Motel

Bates Motel

What’s the premise? Teenager Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) and his mother, Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga), open a motel in a small Oregon shipping town.

What’s it like? From executive producers Carlton Cuse (Lost) and Kerry Ehrin (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood), Bates Motel is a modern-day prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s landmark 1960 psychological thriller Psycho. Don’t expect any Janet Leigh reenactments, however; this twisty, sadistic series is all about teenage Norman Bates and his relationship with his mother. You think Joan Crawford was bad? Farmiga’s Norma heralds in a new era of Mommie Dearest. And speaking of Mommie Dearest, Bates Motel, too, maintains a certain campiness through the terror.

Where can I see it? Seasons one and two are both available in their entirety on Netflix. They are also available on iTunes, Vudu, and Xbox Video. Season two is available on Hulu and A&E Online. You can also get the complete first and second seasons on DVD and Blu-ray.

How long will it take? Both seasons are composed of 10 45-minute episodes. You could crank this one out in a week’s time.

What do the critics think? Season one of Bates Motel is Certified Fresh at 81 percent and season two is Fresh at 86 percent. Most critics note the creative freedom Cuse and Ehrin take by setting the series in present day, and Farmiga and Highmore’s performances have garnered quite a bit of praise as well (including an Emmy nomination for Farmiga). The Hollywood Reporter’s Tim Goodman wrote upon Bates Motel‘s 2013 premiere that “there”s more than enough intrigue and entertainment on top of Farmiga’s outstanding turn to keep viewers wanting more of this new-style nonhomage to Psycho.” Clark Collis of Entertainment Weekly echoed the sentiment, proclaiming that “Farmiga gives a performance to die for.” Of season two,’s Brian Tallerico said, “This is pretty far from the original Psycho and I like it when a show like this gets darkly humorous with its own legacy.”

Why should I watch this? Even though we’ve known this iconic setting for 50 years, Bates Motel‘s Norma and Norman prove to be complex, nuanced characters with emotional depth. Norma and Norman may be a bit — okay, a lot — off their rockers, but by most counts, they are pure in intention. Also, creative heavyweights Cuse and Ehrin know how to balance the grisly narrative with dark humor, and watching a disheveled mother sport a blood-spattered apron while disposing of a corpse with her placid-faced, 17-year-old son is morbidly funny. (And that’s not to mention lines from Norma like, “Why do crazy people keep gravitating towards me?”) The writers’ room remains self-aware in the best of ways, and Bates Motel‘s portrayal of its small town of secrets makes for an engaging cast of supporting players to boot.

What’s my next step? After you’re caught up on Bates Motel, it’s time to watch Psycho and Psycho 2. On the TV side, Twin Peaks is a series to add to your queue. From acclaimed auteur David Lynch, it’s certainly more surreal than Bates Motel, but if you’re looking for an ensemble series with mind games and suspense to spare, there’s no other quite like it. Plus, it’s making an anticipated return to Showtime in 2016. Hannibal on NBC is also likely to get your blood pumping — just don’t let Dr. Lecter see. Much like Bates Motel, Hannibal is a prequel to the Oscar-winning 1991 film, Silence of the Lambs. Finally, American Horror Story: Freak Show has another mommy-son story line that is equally disturbing and comical.

Will you be caught up with Bates Motel before season three starts? Let us know in the comments below!

Tag Cloud

Spectrum Originals YouTube New York Comic Con Animation HFPA Elton John supernatural 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards discovery razzies Netflix 90s Pixar halloween tv japanese sitcom Lifetime TLC 21st Century Fox kids comic monster movies women streaming E! Thanksgiving rotten movies we love war cancelled CBS all-time Song of Ice and Fire See It Skip It mob australia 20th Century Fox fresh obi wan History adaptation Comics on TV TCA Winter 2020 DC Universe Chilling Adventures of Sabrina basketball streamig Adult Swim 94th Oscars Podcast stand-up comedy Musical TIFF scene in color series Hear Us Out dogs ABC Bravo Reality Competition Food Network Photos singing competition 2019 2018 classics genre Star Wars PlayStation Rock PaleyFest Black History Month a nightmare on elm street Sundance TV popular DirecTV Emmy Nominations olympics lord of the rings latino richard e. Grant Interview dreamworks Tarantino streaming movies MSNBC dark slasher Best Director politics saw 2017 PBS 007 Lionsgate Mary Poppins Returns BBC America transformers Amazon Studios Box Office Classic Film Hulu sopranos Alien trophy Martial Arts Fox Searchlight Apple USA Stephen King TruTV docudrama indiana jones kong news Starz BBC One Super Bowl RT History deadpool ITV slashers South by Southwest Film Festival HBO pirates of the caribbean National Geographic 2015 golden globes venice The Academy scene in color film series Spike south america die hard Disney Channel VH1 live action Biopics universal monsters documentaries Comedy Central adventure Britbox child's play justice league superman Esquire broadcast The Purge Schedule HBO Go E3 Sneak Peek IFC DC streaming service Film WarnerMedia Country Peacock Summer rt labs summer TV Musicals Freeform historical drama Vudu The CW Masterpiece trailers A24 movie TCA Comic Book what to watch Travel Channel worst movies art house TBS ABC Signature 72 Emmy Awards Best Picture TV travel festival 79th Golden Globes Awards Holiday comic book movies comiccon Star Wars Celebration foreign Apple TV+ zombie USA Network Crackle SDCC spain Captain marvel cars CNN laika Creative Arts Emmys name the review BAFTA The Walking Dead Universal Toys spinoff FXX NBC Best Actress talk show strong female leads target blockbuster summer TV preview Marvel Television dramedy toronto Pop TV witnail independent 4/20 Marvel Studios Tubi Turner series Rocketman werewolf james bond MTV Image Comics football Red Carpet cooking Amazon Prime Video Character Guide Sundance BBC live event breaking bad superhero Ovation Legendary sag awards natural history suspense parents Winners best diversity rt archives quibi OWN canceled TV shows Drama Disney+ Disney Plus Music hist jurassic park police drama AMC Plus critic resources harry potter Star Trek Video Games Netflix Christmas movies social media 45 Trailer christmas movies 2021 Comic-Con@Home 2021 comic book movie Awards Tour Family true crime Superheroe french political drama action-comedy Paramount reviews Polls and Games medical drama cartoon batman A&E Action godzilla golden globe awards new york game of thrones space Calendar San Diego Comic-Con Mary Tyler Moore Infographic japan Premiere Dates Extras posters CBS All Access TCA Awards TV Land crime thriller young adult animated robots 2016 Focus Features Mystery international free movies Prime Video green book video on demand TNT Apple TV Plus FOX cancelled TV shows Pacific Islander Comedy Superheroes joker movies cops adenture Holidays dexter Oscar Funimation 93rd Oscars book Pride Month FX on Hulu Pop VICE Nominations debate Chernobyl Reality zero dark thirty 1990s films summer preview cults Geeked Week Acorn TV Disney Plus video FX criterion Trophy Talk AMC Sony Christmas mockumentary wonder woman Watching Series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Shondaland Opinion elevated horror blockbusters Amazon Grammys Mary poppins Pet Sematary Wes Anderson disaster Election prank composers romance TCM Quiz Hallmark Christmas movies tv talk scary movies teaser VOD Western interviews Film Festival crime Fantasy anime psychological thriller high school GIFs sequels stoner CMT theme song marvel cinematic universe unscripted comedies screen actors guild critics spider-man archives BET Certified Fresh Spring TV anthology President Paramount Pictures award winner 73rd Emmy Awards canceled psycho CW Seed halloween Instagram Live rotten Writers Guild of America scene in color IFC Films facebook Nickelodeon Rocky comic books Exclusive Video gangster dc Best Actor vampires Discovery Channel SundanceTV blaxploitation black mission: impossible Turner Classic Movies black comedy WGN 2020 24 frames Horror Best and Worst Black Mirror Avengers Lifetime Christmas movies revenge Pirates Tumblr Cannes Amazon Prime miniseries Teen LGBT biography Television Critics Association El Rey Hallmark The Walt Disney Company kaiju sports Sundance Now Fargo science fiction serial killer Hollywood Foreign Press Association spy thriller cancelled television NBA legend TV renewals Cartoon Network nbcuniversal RT21 television Neflix IMDb TV game show GoT Ellie Kemper Women's History Month casting Marathons nature LGBTQ Tags: Comedy ABC Family HBO Max mcc Fall TV 71st Emmy Awards Television Academy new zealand SXSW versus Countdown binge book adaptation new star wars movies Disney GLAAD Columbia Pictures twilight reboot festivals Dark Horse Comics Mudbound Endgame target scene in color TV One dragons vs. obituary ratings thriller Walt Disney Pictures asian-american TCA 2017 ESPN king kong Shudder Academy Awards feel good finale Native based on movie crime drama biopic aliens Cosplay Nat Geo hidden camera hollywood fast and furious jamie lee curtis children's TV technology hispanic Kids & Family boxoffice YouTube Red ghosts cancelled TV series rt labs critics edition stop motion TV movies documentary heist movie Set visit Marvel Disney streaming service The Arrangement know your critic Paramount Plus cats Oscars indie dceu docuseries DGA Mindy Kaling remakes Ghostbusters Warner Bros. renewed TV shows screenings Paramount Network spider-verse ID Sci-Fi Showtime BET Awards spanish marvel comics Brie Larson Indigenous The Witch satire Logo spanish language ViacomCBS hispanic heritage month Rom-Com emmy awards YouTube Premium king arthur Heroines Winter TV boxing directors 99% romantic comedy OneApp rom-coms YA sequel nfl Broadway telelvision Tokyo Olympics APB First Reviews Anna Paquin italian leaderboard cinemax chucky worst American Society of Cinematographers scary First Look Fox News royal family period drama Valentine's Day Arrowverse Epix toy story Trivia Sony Pictures Emmys franchise MGM NYCC MCU Baby Yoda Syfy Tomatazos mutant DC Comics concert Year in Review SXSW 2022 X-Men Universal Pictures zombies crossover Lucasfilm comics aapi Awards doctor who scorecard Binge Guide Crunchyroll